Home Science Technology Zeepay CEO Advocates for Consumer-Centric AI Adoption in Africa

Zeepay CEO Advocates for Consumer-Centric AI Adoption in Africa

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Andrew Takyi-Appiah, the Co-Founder and CEO of Zeepay, has called on African countries to initiate the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) from a consumer perspective to ensure the technology’s safety for Africans. He made these remarks during the Mobile Technology for Development (MT4D) session at the recent 3i Africa Summit.

Takyi-Appiah emphasized that Africa has historically been slow to adopt new technologies due to safety concerns and challenges with widespread adoption. The continent was late in embracing the internet and is now beginning to integrate blockchain technology. With AI emerging as the next technological frontier, regulators are grappling with understanding its full implications, particularly regarding safety.

Speaking at the summit, Takyi-Appiah cautioned against drafting AI policies and regulations prematurely, suggesting that doing so could hinder the technology’s potential benefits. “AI is a necessary evil – it is a very powerful thing – we need it, but it can also destroy us. We can literally go to war from an AI,” he remarked.

Emphasizing Consumer Behavior in AI Integration

Takyi-Appiah argued that to ensure the safe adoption of AI, African countries should focus on consumer behavior as the primary leverage point. He suggested designing protocols around consumer interactions to ensure safety and reliability, rather than starting with regulations and policy frameworks.

“If we tested AI in the market and gained a better understanding, we could then develop realistic policy frameworks and regulations based on actual experiences,” he explained.

He provided examples of how AI could help scale small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Previously, industry players had to use expensive enterprise service buses (ESB) for consumer behavior analytics, costing up to a million dollars. With AI, the same value can be achieved for around $10. However, he cautioned about the risks of exposing consumer data and emphasized the need for protocols to manage these risks.

AI evolution in Africa must be from consumer standpoint - Zeepay Boss

Leading with Fintech Innovation

Regarding regulation, Takyi-Appiah urged regulators to allow fintech innovators to spearhead the digitalization agenda, warning that early regulation could stifle innovation. He noted that fintech firms have already developed infrastructures capable of driving Africa’s digital payments agenda, but progress has been impeded by bureaucratic discussions at governmental and continental levels.

He proposed a three-tier approach to regulation:

  1. Conduct: Innovators and firms should develop products and services with integrity, prioritizing customer interests and implementing appropriate financial crime controls, onboarding protocols, and anti-money laundering programs.
  2. Ecosystem: Innovators and firms should collaborate to establish common standards, protocols, and systems that optimize consumer behavior, agree on data sharing, and protect the ecosystem.
  3. Regulatory Oversight: Regulators should focus on setting clear objectives, ensuring seamless implementation, and overseeing compliance and risk controls. Some compliance measures should be managed by the regulator, while others should be handled by industry players.

In conclusion, Takyi-Appiah emphasized that beginning AI adoption from a consumer standpoint, supported by appropriate protocols, and allowing fintech innovators to lead, would effectively develop Africa’s digitalization ecosystem across various sectors, including finance, health, and education.

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